Chapter 3: Weighing the Costs of Investigations
Despite cost concerns, investigations need to be thorough and appropriate in order to stand up in court, should the need arise. The decision maker has to find the right balance between a cost-effective investigation and one that meets the needs of the company.
“Investigations completed professionally can save a tremendous amount of time and money by averting litigation, preserving a company’s reputation, quantifying losses for insurance claims, and maintaining employee morale,” says Maribeth Vander Weele, President of the Vander Weele Group, a corporate investigations firm in Chicago, and founder of the online investigative service, Sagerity Investigative Intelligence.
The decision whether to use in-house resources or an outside investigator affects the cost of an investigation, and there are many reasons to consider both options. A company may decide to spend money for outside expertise when there is nobody available in-house with the necessary skills to conduct the investigation fairly and legally.
“Although the investigation will cost the company more in dollars, the independence that an outsider brings to the situation may impart more credibility to the findings, especially in the eyes of government investigators,” wrote forensic accountant and CFE Tracy Coenen in a CFO Magazine article entitled Investigating a Compliance Failure. Sometimes this can save the company money that would have been lost to lawsuits and a botched investigation.